Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Philippine rebels demand pullout of US troops

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / September 30, 2009) – Communist rebels on Wednesday demanded anew the pullout of US troops in the Philippines following the killing of two American counterterrorism specialists in a roadside bombing in Sulu province.

The outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines warned the US against using the killing of the soldiers to justify an escalation of its military intervention in the country.

"The killing yesterday of two US soldiers in Sulu underscores the need to put an immediate end to the deployment of US soldiers in the Philippines, especially where there is a raging armed conflict between the Philippine government and anti-government armed groups. This is neither the first nor the last case where US soldiers' intrusion into combat zones and actual participation in combat operations in Philippine territory has been exposed," the CPP said in a statement.

The two slain US soldiers SSG Jack Martin and SFC Christopher Shaw were killed Tuesday in the town of Indanan where security forces are fighting Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya militants. A Filipino marine was also killed in the bombing.

"We urge the Filipino and American people to demand that the Obama government immediately pull out all its interventionist troops in the country and thus prevent the escalation of combat operations involving American troops from turning the Philippines into another Iraq and Afghanistan," the CPP said, adding, “the American people would not want to be drawn into another Vietnam-like quagmire."

It also called on Manila to scrap the controversial Visiting Forces Agreement that allows continued US military presence in the Philippines.

"The repeal of the VFA and all other unequal military treaties between the US and Philippine governments has now even more become an urgent clamor of the Filipino people," the CPP said.

"With hundreds of US troops carrying out various combat, combat-related as well as covert operations in the Philippines, it is inevitable that more and more US soldiers and operatives will be targeted by various armed groups that view them as interventionist forces aligned with the Armed Forces of the Philippines," it said.

Philippine military and US Embassy officials said the slain US soldiers were noncombatants and that they were in the area to supervise a school project.

But local Muslims in Sulu said US forces were involved in clandestine operations aimed at capturing or killing known Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya militant leaders.

“The Filipino people do not accept the US and Philippine governments' spin that the US soldiers killed in Indanan were non-combatants and involved only in development projects," the CPP said.

"As always, those US interventionist troops were armed to the teeth, self-confident in their military prowess and actually combat-ready, but they failed to anticipate the blast that hit them as they entered hostile territory. Their so-called humanitarian and development projects serve only as entry points for their presence and participation in combat and combat-related operations," it added.

Local authorities said the Abu Sayyaf is coddling Jemaah Islamiya militants in Sulu and among them were Dulmatin and Umar Patek, tagged as behind the deadly 2002 Bali bombings; and several others that included Mauiya and Quayem. (Mindanao Examiner)

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